Khalil Abdulkhabir, born in Brooklyn, NY, raised in Bedford-Stuyvesant when it underwent a change from a white immigrant community to a black working class neighborhood. A baby boomer that was heavily influenced by post WWII America, the intensifying struggle for civil rights and the awakening black consciousness that spread throughout the land. His parents, siblings and family instilled the value of work, responsibility, and intellectual development. A central figure-his grandmother, in his life exemplified strong religious values as one committed to Berean Baptist Church, Brooklyn NY, from 1910 until her passing in 1979, passed this attitude of commitment and dedication to his beliefs.
The turbulence of the 60's, the uncovering of fairy tales and intellectual pursuits embarked him on a journey to find the 'truth.' After exploring eastern religion and philosophy, and African religion and mythology, Islam uncovered itself to him. He realized Islam as a complete way of living and accepted it in 1970.
His journey to Islam began in a community based after school program that he participated in administrating with local friends, 'The Crew,' held in a Church recreation center in 1969. Brothers from the Dar-ul-Islam Movement frequented the Church center to talk to his group. They were dressed in a way unfamiliar to them and spoke in a very convincing way on topics from religion to social injustice. The brothers were fascinating, and displayed a sincere companionship that really touched him. Their talk was not just rhetorical; they seemed to have answers and solutions in their Islamic preaching. This led Khalil on a yearlong inquiry and study mentored by his good friend Abdul Salaam. With his mind convinced and heart softening to this new religion, he made Shahadah at Yasin Mosque, and studied at 240 Sumpter Street. There he met a core group of brothers to whom he is endeared to, to this day.
The Dar-ul-Islam Movement caused a dramatic change in his social, political, and religious outlook, from one that focused on the creation to one that focused on worship and glorification of The Creator of The Creation—a very liberating concept. There he studied and dedicated his energies to establishing the Islamic way of life for himself with others dedicated to this community concept. Khalil used his photographic skills on the Dar-ul-Islam Movement's first publication, Jihadul Akbar, a monthly magazine, and to record the many activities of the Movement. He was also active in the Dar-ul-Islam Muslim Prison Committee from 1970, which developed into a career path with the New York State Department of Correctional Services.
He came to Islam in 1970 and his marriage is of equal length. The marriage produced a loving relationship that has withstood life’s trials with his best companion, his wife. His family grew inside the Dar-ul-Islam Movement and helped grow the movement. They benefited from the day care; Madrasatush Shaheedain, the all Muslim grade school; Jawallah Scouts and Binatul Muslimeen, the boys and girls Muslim scout troop; and the camaraderie, Islamic identity and support generated within the Dar-ul-Islam Movement.
The thirteen years that followed in the Dar-ul-Islam Movement for Khalil could fill many pages. Instead, he has given us his pictures to tell that part of the story.